Posts Tagged ‘staircase’

We have really big news around Guin’s Yard this summer:  we are officially jewel-tone-carpet free!  That’s right!  All this:

 DSC_0089 DSC_0068 DSC_0062 

is GONE.  We’ll have to show you what’s here instead in installments, though, because most of the rooms aren’t very “finished” looking yet.  When you replace the flooring in this many rooms (plus the family room), there’s a lot of moving STUFF from one room to another, and some of the rooms have emerged from their awkward mid-project adolescence more gracefully than others.  So we’ll start with some works in progress and some finished shots of the rooms that are well on their way.

So the process.

First we chose the carpet.  We used the same color in all of:  the family room, stairs, upstairs hall, and all 4 bedrooms.  We chose it using the guiding principal of “what will match my dogs the best?”


The final choice was “Treasure,” 2nd from top, right most column.  Shown here against our living room carpet which we like very much, but was discontinued since we put it in.  Otherwise we’d have just continued the same color.IMG_0780


We had the house measured, and the carpet ordered.  While we waited for the carpet to come in, we got the first two rooms ready for install, including:

  • emptying out the rooms,
  • ripping out the old carpet and padding,
  • removing the sliding closet doors and the doors’ track in the floor, and
  • de-glossing, priming, and painting (3 coats!) the baseboard trim.

We established a pattern over the course of about a month, where we’d prep two rooms on a weekend, and the installers would come during the week.  Week 1:  family room and green guest room.  Week 2:  Master bedroom, stairs, and upstairs hall.  Week 3:  Yellow guest room and office bedroom.  Week 4:  master bedroom closet, because the piece didn’t fit in week 3.  These were some mammoth work weekends, so we tucked the project into my couple of weeks of down time after my first half ironman of the season, and before I ramped back up (too much) training for the second one.

By the end of it, if neither of us ever saw another gallon of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic semi-gloss paint, it would’ve been fine with us.  Unfortunately that will not be the case:  we still have doors (lots of doors) and the trim around the windows to do.  Those will be projects for another day.  In the meantime, here’s a few pictures of the slog:

Green bedroom progression:

(Mostly) empty:


Green carpet removed:


Trim primed:DSC_0077and, sorry for the teaser, but that’s as far as I’ve got pictures of this one!  Since it was the first bedroom done, it was (and is) stuffed to the gills with stuff from all the other rooms while they were underway.

Master bedroom:  Before carpet was fully removed (edges cut away), white trim paint finished.


and down to the subfloor:


Hall and stairs:  carpet edges cut away for painting.  Note, this was a real problem when doing the hall and stairs, because we had to spend a few days like this with the carpet tacks exposed, and couldn’t close it off well from the dogs.  We ended up baby gating them in another part of the house, and at bedtime, we walked them straight up the carpeted middle on tight leashes.  Not fun.  At least it was short lived.


More painting:


And down to the sub floor for install day #2:


DSC_0111Obviously we didn’t take complete pics in every room, but you get the idea:  tedium!  Anyway, I am pleased to show off the first and most-put-together room after this whole adventure.  The family room:

DSC_0153This room admittedly looks the least different, since the old carpet was cream colored.  But it was not, I don’t think, particularly good quality carpet, and it didn’t look very good up close.  It was showing serious wear patterns, and Marcy sealed the deal as a puppy when she chewed 2 or 3 holes in it.  We are hoping this darker, more tan, more flecked color will do better.


DSC_0156Marcy asks you not to believe a word about this alleged chewing of carpet.  See this face?  This face doesn’t chew.

The family room is probably also the room where the newly white trim is least noticeable, because there’s so much furniture along the walls.  The door frames are noticeable, though, especially the glass exterior doors.  White trim blends into the door much better, which I like.  The trim is not substantial enough to warrant attention being called thereto.

Hopefully I’ll have pictures of some of the other rooms soon!




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While we had the electricians in doing the wiring for the new fans, we also had a few little things done in the kitchen.

Previously, we’d had to string the power cord from the phone across the backsplash to where the coffee pot is plugged in.  Thumbs down.  So we had an outlet added on a panel with a dimmer switch, so the phone could be plugged in right near the phone jack.

The dimmer switch goes to the new lantern alongside the slider.  The deck previously had no light at all, so grilling involved a little guess work, and/or a headlamp.  The lantern has a 60w bulb, so the dimmer is probably overkill.  But if we ever want something brighter, we’ll have a way to tone it down for sitting on the deck.

The outdoor outlet below the lantern is also new.  It has no distinct purpose other than, “it seems like a good and potentially useful idea.”  We have an outlet on the back side of the family room, below the light, but it’s pretty out of the way.  (Read:  requires an extension cord for Christmas lights.)

The spotlight fixture is also new.  We just swapped that ourselves for the cheap and ineffective jelly jar light that was there before.

Not super exciting, but it’s a lot brighter.  We leave the switch (in the family room) on, and let it shut on and off with the motion sensor.  I think we need to angle it more toward the deck, but overall it’s been pretty useful at lighting up the yard.

The other electrical project was back upstairs:  we had a whole house fan installed over the stairs.

Fortunately, the house already had ridge vents and vented soffits, so we didn’t need to install more venting.  That might have been the only easy or fortuitous part about getting this done. First, just getting the fan was a hassle.  Very few stores stock them, and most places were charging upwards of $90 in shipping, and/or had multi-week delivery times.  A far cry from the giant box containing 3 ceiling fans that arrived via free super saver shipping from amazon.com!  We finally tracked one down at a more-or-less-area Lowe’s, but what a pain.  We also needed to figure out ourselves what specs we needed:  size, capacity (in CFM), belt vs. direct drive, etc.  (For anyone considering one, we went with 30″, 5700 CFM, belt driven for our 1860 sf house.)  The guys at Lowe’s looked at us like we had three heads when we asked them.

We also had some difficulty finding someone to do the installation, since whole house fans fell off the popularity charts with the rise of central air.  We ended up hiring two guys to do it; the electrician who did the other fans and fixtures wired it, and then we got a carpenter to do the installation.  In the intervening weeks we talked to a lot of people who told us it couldn’t be done because we have 24 inch on center trusses over the stairs that can’t be cut (true, but you can install around them), people who told us it was a ridiculous project because we already have central air, and people who told us they “just don’t do those anymore.”  All of which was super helpful.

In any event, it did finally go in, and there it is:

All that’s left is trying to figure out how to get at the marks on the ceiling and the walls left by the carpenter’s hand prints.  There are some on the ceiling around the fan, on the wall, and on the far wall over the stairs from the carpenter’s ladder.  I was disappointed by those.  Ah well.  In the summer we’ll be able to turn it on at night and replace all the stuffy air in the house with cool outside air in minutes.  That will be nice.

That wraps up our electrical projects.  With the exception of a little tree surgery work outside that will hopefully be done soon, it will be back to our regularly scheduled DIY around here.

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Ah, before and after’s.  My favorite posts to write.  Without further ado:


Taking photobombing lessons from Bo Obama

I’m really pleased with the finished product.  I think it looks more polished, will be more practical to take care of, and like I mentioned in a previous post, I think it helps our very own green monster staircase stand out a little less.

So there you have it!

Eventually we’ll paint the door frame trim white, along with the baseboards and the sides of the stairs, but probably not until we’re ready to replace the flooring.  I’m not holding my breath for that one, though, so we’re calling the project done for now.  This is one I’m very glad we did.

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Almost done!

The only thing left to finish is the last few coats of spray paint on the banister brackets, and then putting the banister back up.

I’m really pleased with how well the Stone Lion paint below the chair rail coordinates with the carpet, curtains, and couch slipcover in the living room, when you look into the foyer from the living room.

Once I get the banister back up, I’ll post a photo of the finished stair case.  I think the chair rail and the darker paint help de-emphasize the green carpet a little, which is great.  The green is no longer far and away the darkest, most obvious thing in the space.  I’m still looking forward to replacing it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a little less aggressive now.  I’ll take it.

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Painting continues here at Guin’s Yard:  the molding is finished, with three coats of semi-gloss paint.  We’ve finished edging the ceiling white, cream, and brown along the trim, and rolled the brown.  It essentially looks finished, but there are a few spots on the walls where a 2nd coat would be a good idea.  Hopefully tomorrow it’ll be done!

This is a good look at the color, from a little earlier in the week:

The thin little strip of Sandbar shows how much lighter it is than the Stone Lion.  Now that it’s (almost) done I think we made the right choice.

One little part of the project that’s still ongoing is that I’m spray painting the brackets for the banister.

From the looks of them, the banister was stained in place, and stain drips are still all over the brass brackets (which I’d probably spray paint anyway, since the brass doesn’t match anything in the house).  I cleaned them up with hot water and a pot scrubber to get little bits of latex paint and dust off, and primed them with spray primer.

Tomorrow I’ll do a first coat of oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

I still haven’t decided if we should leave the banister itself stained or paint it.  I’m not sure what color to paint it if we were going to, so I think it’ll stay as-is for a while.  White seems like it’d get dirty fast, with hands on it all the time.  Plus, there’s still a lot of unpainted molding, so it won’t look out of place right away.  We will get to painting the baseboards when we replace the green carpet, and painting the door frame trim when we replace the interior doors with nicer 6-panel doors in the future.

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This weekend we had a visit from mom & dad, and tackled the chair rail and crown molding in the foyer, up the staircase, and around the upstairs landing.  It was a tremendous amount of precise cutting and detail work to get all the corners right.  Well done dad on that.  As of Sunday night we’ve got everything installed and caulked, and have just started the painting.

The starting point was about as blank a slate as possible:

With the exception of the light, which we updated a couple years ago, it’s been pretty much untouched.  It has sort of a “plain vanilla landlord vibe.”  And even though we walk through it many times a day, it still had the feeling of being accidental square footage, just sort of a continuation of the kitchen and stairway wall color, and the kitchen floor.  It certainly didn’t offer a gracious welcome at the front door.  So we decided to give it some polish and make it feel more like a “room” unto itself.





First came the crown molding, starting by the kitchen.

and as Saturday progressed, we wrapped around the foyer

The wall that the front door and the garage door are on turned out to be bears, particularly the garage door wall.  They weren’t even close to being true.

Once the crown molding was up, it was caulked to fill any gaps between the wall/molding and ceiling/molding, especially where the walls have some of the more glaring imperfections.

The caulk always makes it look so nice!  Even without paint.

Then it was onward to the chair rail installation, which we started on Saturday and spanned into Sunday.  The angles and joints between the first story level and the stairs, and the second story level and the stairs were the most time consuming.

We did all the installation work with the banister in place, so we could make sure they would be perfectly parallel.  We took the banister down later to caulk the underside of the chair rail and start painting.  Before it goes back up, I plan to spray paint the brass brackets with the same oil rubbed bronze spray paint that I’ve used on a few light fixtures so far.

Eventually, we got the molding wrapped all the way around the landing upstairs, and around the foyer downstairs.





Shortly before we finished, we put the piece of chair rail up on the wall that I’d painted earlier in the week, testing out a possible paint color.  It would’ve been so nice if Sandbar worked out, because we have the better part of a gallon leftover from our bedroom.

But as I’d been concerned might be the case, with a white chair rail separating the two wall colors, they didn’t look clearly different enough.  We settled on Stone Lion (SW 7507) instead (the middle chip in the picture), and off I went to Sherwin Williams before they closed.

Once all the chair rail was up, we took a break for some late lunch, picked up, and said goodbye to mom & dad as they headed home.  We closed the day out by doing the caulking on the chair rail, and starting some of the Stone Lion paint below the chair rail.  (We couldn’t paint any of the molding itself yet, because it all had some wet caulk still.)

I will need to take some pictures in better light once it’s all finished, but I was surprised by how dark the Stone Lion turned out.  The chip didn’t look so very different from the rest.

These pictures make the Sandbar strip just under the chair rail look a lot darker than it seemed in real life.  The Stone Lion also seems a little more gray in person than it looks here. I’ve learned my lesson in the past though about not judging a paint color until it’s completely finished, there are no edges visible of other colors, and it’s dry.  So judgment is reserved.

Still ahead of us:  3 coats of Alabaster paint on all the trim, then re-edging the cream, the ceiling white, and the Stone Lion around the molding to cover the caulk, and rolling the Stone Lion below the chair rail.  We are hoping to have finished pictures next weekend.

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For some time we’ve been contemplating where and how to place a chair rail in our foyer to make an otherwise extremely vanilla space a little less so.  We also wanted to run the chair rail up the staircase, so that the most abused part of the wall (the bottom 2-3 feet and around the banister) could be painted a darker, more scuff-resistant color, and could be repainted periodically in the future without going all the way up to the 2nd story ceiling.  The difficulty was how to deal with the banister itself.  Most staircases with chair rail don’t have an interloping banister.

This project will go along with installing crown molding around the foyer.  The molding has been sitting in a spare bedroom for about a year and a half now, since we did the crown molding in the living & dining rooms.  Time to get cracking.

Rather than keep imagining and guessing, this weekend we put up a blue painter’s tape “chair rail” just to see how it would look.

The chair rail around the foyer and on the upstairs landing are the same height as in the dining room, centered at about 29.5″ above the top of the baseboard molding.  On the stairs themselves, we took it out an inch or so further from the molding just to clear the banister by a little more.  The painter’s tape is only 1″ thick, so the molding will be wider.

We were pretty pleased with how the molding would fall relative to the baseboard angles and the light switch, which we don’t really want to move.  No need to make the project bigger than it has to be.

As evinced by the paint chips, one of the next questions, since placement of the chair rail was so easy, is what color to paint below the chair rail.  We plan to leave the cream color (SW Creamy) as-is above the chair rail.  The paint is only a couple years old, in good shape, and frankly, we don’t want to get on a paint board again to do the staircase.  So it’s staying!

Below the chair rail we’re looking for something just a little darker, but still neutral.  Since we still have 2/3 of a gallon leftover from doing the master bedroom, I painted a small section of wall in SW Sandbar just to see how it looks.

A second coat is in order, which I think might darken it up a little more.  It’s certainly a possibility, and definitely not far off at worst.  At best we might go with it.  It’s hard to tell if it will be dark enough to be clearly different from the Creamy when there’s a white chair rail in between.  If not, another strong contender is SW Portico, which is just a little darker.  All of the new chair and crown molding will be SW Alabaster, to match the living and dining room trim.

The other major question will be where to end the chair rail on the 2nd story.  Initially I’d planned to end it at the top of the stairs:

but we could also run it around past the bathroom door, under the map, and end it under the light switch, where the wall turns a corner to go down the hall.  That wouldn’t be much extra work, and would mean that from the bottom of the stairs you’d see continuous chair rail looking up.  That might be a better move.

Decisions, decisions!

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